On the ground Reviews by Peter Okpiafo
Reviews From Eko 2012 Event
Students dominated some events at the sports fiesta. From athletics to boxing and table tennis, students showed class, some of them winning medals in their respective events. One of those who easily caught the attention of fans was Team Lagos’s distance runner, Aminat Olowora, who has won two gold medals for the state so far.
The former student of Ikoyi-based Aunty Ayo Comprehensive School not only claimed the gold but dusted national champion, Delta’s Deborah Pam, to clinch the medal in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres events.
In the women’s long jump event, Lagos’ Mercy Abire Uyoyo is another athlete that defied the odds to win silver in the event.
The 16-year old student of Lagos Model College jumped 6.01metres to finish second.
In boxing, Mutiat Adebayo fought her way to the semi-finals of women’s 51kg category, and the 17-year old, who won gold at Garden City Games in 2011, is hoping to repeat the feat again at Eko 2012.
In table tennis, Tosin Oribamise of Ekiti State remains one of the stars whose performances have continued to receive accolades from fans. For the first time in the history of the festival, Ekiti won a medal in the team event, with 13-year old Oribamise leading the team to bronze medal in the women’s event.
The student of Muslim College, Ado Ekiti, was the toast of fans at the sports hall of the Lagos National Stadium during the women’s doubles quarter-final encounter against Team Lagos.
Floodlight failure stops football match
The second semifinal match between Team Lagos and Team Kwara in the football event of the 18th National Sports Festival at the Agege Stadium on Thursday, was abandoned after extra time after the stadium’s floodlight failed to function.
The highly explosive game had ended 2-2 after full and extra time. But the penalty shootout could not take place as darkness took over the arena with workers battling to ensure that the floodlight functioned.
The match was then abandoned after a futile effort to get the floodlight working, with officials postponing the penalty shoot-out to Friday (today) morning.
Kwara came back from behind to lead 2-1 after Lagos romped into an early lead but the hosts restored parity with eight minutes of play left.
In the first semifinal match, Team Cross River qualified for the final after they defeated Team Delta 7-6 on penalties after full and extra time ended 0-0.
A winner was eventually decided in the heated encounter after both sides had played 10 penalty kicks each.
In the women’s semi-final, Akwa Ibom defeated Edo 3-0 on penalties after full and extra time ended 0-0 to set-up a mouth-watering final clash with hosts Lagos who hammered Osun 5-0 in the other last four fixture
Men Race - Rivers State’s Nicholas Imhoapheremhie Wednesday at the tartan tracks of the Teslim Balogun Stadium outran all comers to emerge as the fastest man at the on-going National Sports Festival. Imhoapheremhie, returned a time of 10.51 seconds to beat Chuks Onyaku (10.65), also from Rivers State, to the silver medal, while Victor Ikhazobor of Edo State took the bronze on 10.71 seconds.
Women Race - In the women race, Ondo’s Peace Ukoh took the gold medal, Margaret Benson of Delta State got the silver, while the bronze medal went to Mariam Edet of Akwa Ibom State.
Also Wednesday, Team Lagos’ Aminat Olowora won her second gold medal after beating national champion, Delta’s Deborah Pam in the women’s 10,000 metres. Olowora, who had on Tuesday claimed the gold in the 1,500 metres, also beat her rival Pam to the 10000metre.
In the men’s hammer and women’s heptathlon, Rivers dominated the events.
Boxing - Meanwhile, true to his pre-tourney boast, Team Lagos’ Olaide Fijabi Wednesday led five other athletes from the state to the last four of the boxing event of the 18th National Sports Festival tagged Eko 2012.
Fijabi, a potential gold medalist competing in the men’s 64kg, pounded Abuja’s Olusola Soyelu 9-2, while Otto Joseph beat Niger’s Opaogun Samuel in the 60kg.
Dauda Azeez defeated Nasarawa’s Samuel Ejike 14-0 in the 49kg category, while Mutiat Adebayo fell her opponent, Cross River’s Ewah Archibong 13-1 in the 51kg category, just as Aishat Oriyomi defeated Judith Francis of Rivers State 4-0.
Also, Festival defending champion in the 69kg category, Kate Peters beat Folorunsho Olasile of Oyo State 9-2 to book a place in the semifinals.
Host State Happy with Standard of Event, Attendance & Facilities
From right Princess Adejoke Orelope Adefulire , Governor Babatunde Fashola and other dignities
Barely few days to the end of the week-long 18th National Sports Festival, Lagos State is already singing praises of her achievements. According to the Chairman Local Organising Committee, Princess Adejoke Orelope Adefulire, Lagos has surpassed the achievements made by the last host, Rivers State and the 2006 host, Ogun State respectively.
In terms of the general overview of the festival, the deputy governor said Lagos really tried to improve beyond what was witnessed at the last edition of the festival in Rivers. “We are living up to our image as the Centre of Excellence. We have put machinery in motion to make good impression and so far, we can beat our chest for the job well done. Even though, there were hitches, but we have been able to put them under control.
The athletes and officials who visited Lagos for the first time are in love with everything about the state. Our visitors had been carried away by the beauty and effective organisation of the festival. We really planned for the festival. Princess Adefulire said the festival had become a great blessing to the athletes and the volunteers as they may get automatic employment shortly after the festival. Some of our athletes, who are jobless, would be engaged and the volunteers too.
We have informed them to submit their CVs. We strongly believe that is the only way to encourage our athletes and others who contributed to the success of the festival in Lagos. In its determination to discover and nurture hidden talents in the state, Adefulire said the festival has helped, in no small measure, to get some athletes that may represent the nation in the future international events. Coaches were mandated to go round all the venues to look out for talents not only in the
Lagos team but also among other states in Lagos for the festival.
“We are happy to join Delta and Rivers in the campaign to build a strong team for Nigeria in the future Olympic Games. Every state knows its area of specialization and by participating in the festival is also an added advantage as everybody would have the opportunity to see the potentialities in these athletes,”she said. “There are more Okochas, Odegbamis, Amokachis in this country. The festival is another breeding ground to discover more talents and working day and night to make everything work according to plans,”she said.
Sad moment from Eko 2012 - .Aregbesola mourns Osun team leader’s death
Osun State governor Rauf Aregbesola has described the death of the head of the state delegation to the National Sports Festival in Lagos, Alhaji Alade Omotayo Yesufu, as sudden and shocking.
Omotayo, who died on Tuesday, was until his demise the General Manager of Osun Sports Council. The deceased was said to be watching a langa game involving the state when he felt uncomfortable and was rushed to the hospital where he died.
The late General Manager slumped at the kokowa fight venue of the ongoing National Sports Festival while protesting the loss of Osun State athlete, Salisu Hila, who lost his bout to his counterpart from Benue State; a development which the late Alade, according to eyewitness, said was due to irregularities in the decision of the referee.
Camp Commandant of Osun State, Okoro Louis Azuibike said: “I still can’t believe Alhaji is gone. We were together yesterday (Tuesday). In fact, he went to virtually all the venues to motivate Osun State athletes by giving them cash incentive to encourage them.
‘’It was at the kokowa venue that he slumped as a result of the shock after seeing one of the state’s athletes losing his fight. He was actually revived after some minutes by the medical personnel on the ground. He even stood up himself but unfortunately gave up the ghost on the way to the hospital,” Okoro said.
Aregbesola, in statement signed by the Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Semiu Okanlawon, said government and the entire state received the death of Yesufu with sad and heavy heart.
He said, “There is no gainsaying the fact that he died in active service to his state of birth. He distinguished himself as an industrious, devoted and committed worker, who had the interest of his people and the state at heart.
“His death would leave a huge vacuum in the state’s sports commission. Certainly, the state would miss him, his experience and contributions to sporting activities.”
Balogun stressed that in spite of the incident, the athletes would strive to do their best, in memory of the late team leader.
Meal Shortage: Lagos blames unregistered athletes for meal shortage
The Chairman Catering Sub-committee of the 18th National Sports Festival, Segun Daodu, on Tuesday said the alleged shortage of food for athletes and officials at the ongoing games was caused by some states, whom he claimed brought in more athletes than they registered for the festival.
Daodu said they prepared for the number of athletes and officials submitted by the states to the Main Organising Committee of the festival.
He said a decision had been taken to send unaccredited athletes away from the hostels.
Daodu said at the Kofo Aina Ademola Hall, University of Lagos, “Every state has a specific number of athletes and officials that are to be taken care of, which was approved by the MOC but unfortunately, some states brought more than the numbers registered with the MOC.
However, an athlete from a northern state, who claimed anonymity, said she was accredited but also had problems in getting her meals at the right time.
“You can see my accreditation as an athlete but I had to buy food outside for some days. Sometimes when you go to where they told us to eat, they will tell you food is finished. Sometimes you get food in the morning, you won’t be served for the rest of the day. There were some athletes who couldn’t eat for a whole day,” she said.
On the ground Reviews by Peter Okpiafo
From Eko 2012 Event We will keep you posted as events unfold in respect of the on going NSF. Find below some of the happenings in and around the event.
Medals: Durogbade wins 1st gold for Oyo
OYO State has joined the early callers on the medals table at the ongoing National Sports Festival which enters day two today by winning its first gold medal in cycling.
Oyo State registered a gold medal on the medals table courtesy Joke Durogbade in the 200 metres sprint cycling women category. She beat her counterparts from Rivers and Delta who settled for silver and bronze respectively.
Meanwhile, hostilities resume today in the football event as Team Oyo trades tackles with its counterpart from Delta State at the Onikan Stadium.
Security at its best – Policemen on Duty
On the ground Reports by Peter Okpiafo
High level Security at Eko 2012 activities, as Policemen stand Duty.
Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), has adopted the “pick as you drop” approach to keep the metropolis clean during the ongoing National Sports Festival (NSF).
The measure was to ensure thorough cleanliness in the metropolis during the Games. The approach, whereby the authority’s cleaners pick up dirt as participants drop them, would leave the festival venues clean at all times.
The authority has engaged extra hands to start cleaning at 7a.m and stop at whatever time they can finish the cleaning.
There are over 65 cleaners in the mainbowl of the stadium and over 200 others outside the area, and everyday, until after the festival, the cleaning schedule would be before, during and after every event.
Also, waste baskets are put at strategic places for the people’s convenience and the waste trucks will be moving in and out of the stadium to make sure that there is no pile-up of dirt.
Activities are in top gear for the Eko 2012 sport festival (Nigeria’s local Olympic Games) to kick off with fanfare. Most of the teams have arrived ahead of the opening ceremony billed for tomorrow, Tuesday November 27, 2012.
LAWMA officers at work around Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos
The opening ceremony for the 18th edition of the Nigerian National Sports Festival tagged Eko 2012 is billed to hold on Tuesday in Lagos.
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the sports festival said it is set to put up a colourful opening ceremony that will be the talk-of-the-town. LOC Secretary-General, Kweku Tandoh, said that pre-opening ceremony activities will start from 3pm local time (4pm CAT).
Tandoh has promised that the opening ceremony of the Nigerian games will be colour and will set new standards in the history of the sports festival.
"The opening ceremony will start with a lot of pre-activities. We've planned an opening ceremony that will not just be colourful but will be historic too," said the LOC scribe.
The Eko 2012 opening ceremony will feature calisthenics and cultural display of the host state.
All the participating states will also be on parade before the torch of unity makes an entry into the Teslim Balogun Stadium, venue of the opening ceremony
Nigeria NSF “Eko 2012” : LED Board along Kingsway road Ikoyi, Lagos
Behind the Scene Activities, happenings & Events
NSF; Lagos awash with attention arresting billboards & signages
To live up to its mantra as the “Centre of Excellence” among the comity of states in Nigeria, Lagos the host state for the Nigeria National Sport festival is living no stone unturn to make the event a memorable one. To make sure that the people are sufficiently mobilized for the event, the city is awashed with billboards of various sizes and shapes. Taking a drive around Lagos today we found the following hoardings communicating the essence of the festival. These billboards are deployed on routes with heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Over 5 to 8 million people transit through each of these routes daily in Lagos.
Nigeria NSF “Eko 2012” : Singnage Board Mobolaji Bank Anthony way Ikeja , Lagos
National sport Festival Boosters
Eko 2012 torch arrives Lagos
The torch of unity for the 18th National Sports Festival tagged Eko 2012 will arrive in Lagos on Saturday after a nationwide tour.
According to the Chairman, Local Organising Committee, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the torch, which began its journey from Abuja in September is expected to arrive in Lagos on Saturday in readiness for the commencement of the festival on Tuesday.
The LOC boss, who is also the Lagos State Deputy Governor, said the torch would arrive by sea transport and would be received by the state’s number one citizen, Governor Babatunde Fashola.
“The unity torch will arrive in Lagos by sea and it will be received by the governor. The reception will take place at Marina where our cultural endowment will be on display for the people to enjoy,” Orelope-Adefulire said
Nigeria NSF “Eko 2012” : Lamp post along Oba Akinjobi road GRA Ikeja, by Police CollegeLagos
LAGOS State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, and Minister of Sports/Chairman, National Sports Commission (NSC), Bolaji Abdullahi, will be among the dignitaries gracing Thursday’s seminar ahead of Eko 2012 National Sports Festival (NSF).
His deputy and chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, as well as big players in the Nigerian sports circle will join Fashola, who is the chief host, while the minister is the special guest of honour.
The Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 South Africa FIFA World Cup, Danny Jordaan, as well as the Director of the Department of International Cooperation and Development, International Olympic Committee (IOC), Ganda Sithole, and a lecturer from the University of Kent, United Kingdom, Dr. Sakis Pappous, among other speakers, wAill deliver papers at the event holding at Muson Centre at Onikan, Lagos.
According to the LOC Secretary General, Kweku Tandoh, the essence of the seminar is to raise the profile of sports in Nigeria through mutual understanding and collaboration.
He said: “The seminar is an international sports gathering, which will discuss how to raise the profile of sports in Nigeria through mutual understanding and collaboration, and looks at sports within the context of social development and economics.
“What are the legacies of hosting sporting events for the hosting cities? In most countries, you find that those cities that host events have legacies, but in Nigeria, a month or two after the event, there is hardly any impression that has been created in the minds or pockets of the people of the states that hosted that festival.
“So we want to look at the benefits and legacies of hosting a sporting event; the linkages between sports and tourism, sports and business, sports and science, so that at the end of the day we can come up with solutions that will create an ongoing structural adjustment in sports, and that is why we are bringing these international sports administrators.”
He added that some top administrators in the country would also be delivering and leading breakout sessions during the seminar
Abdullahi hails Lagos over sports development
Minister of Sports/ Chairman, National Sports Commission, Bolaji Abdullahi, has commended Lagos State for its commitment to sports development, saying he was eager to watch the kick-off of the 18th National Sports Festival tagged Eko 2012.
“We need to begin to see how we can identify talents into our elite athletes programme. The question that has always been asked is what comes after the NSF? What happened after the festival we did last year in Port Harcourt? What did we get from there? Where are the athletes that emerged from the festival? I don’t think I have been able to get a comprehensive report and response to that,” Abdullahi
The minister, who spoke during the one-day seminar organised by the Local Organising Committee of the festival, urged other states to take a cue from Lagos.
“I want to commend Lagos State for abiding with the commitment to the development of sports in Nigeria. A couple of other states are also doing the same,” Abdullahi said.
Abdullahi added that the country stood a better chance to excel at major international events if there were mini-sports centres in all the 774 local government areas in Nigeria.
According to him, the NSC has concluded plans to introduce U-17 youth games, where the discovered athletes would be integrated into a comprehensive elite-training programme.
(3) Echoes from participating states
LAGOS State Weightlifting Association Chairman, Navy Capt. Babatunde Adedimeji (rtd), on Tuesday boasted that his team would sweep weightlifting medals in all categories at the 18th National Sports Festival.
Adedimeji told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the association would leave no stone unturned in their quest for glory.
The chairman said the athletes had been exposed to well-crafted programmes, to sharpen their competitive edge for the Games.
“We had our interclub weightlifting championships earlier in September; there, we discovered our abilities and the possibility of us doing very well at the Games.
“That same period, we got a big morale booster when the state government brought in new sets of weights for our athletes to train with.
“We moved in to closed camping early in October and from then, our athletes and coaches have been working tirelessly to make an impact at the Games,” he said.
In the same vein, the association’s Technical Director, Alade Durosinmi, told NAN that the weightlifting team was nicely shaping up, pending the final selection of lifters for the Games.
“In two days time, we shall compile our team list, but there is certainly no cause for alarm,” he said.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Ronke Olarinjoye, who will be a first-timer at the Games, is highly optimistic about her chances.
“I have been put through various trainings for the sports festival and I am confident that I will impress my coach and my state at the Games,’’ she said.
Another 17-year old first-timer, Olawunmi Olayemi, said she had received more than enough on what she should do to excel at the Games.
“We have been in close camping for a month now and I am confident of doing well in my category; I have been adequately watched and guided by my instructor,” she said.
Jamiu Sadiq, a weightlifter in the 90-kg category, said she had received adequate training to boost his morale.
“It is going to be tough because other states are coming with their best athletes, but I’m confident that with God on our side, I will certainly do well,” he said
TEAM Delta will depart Asaba, Delta State Sunday morning in a convoy of 35 buses and other vehicles for the 18th National Sports Festival tagged “Eko 2012”. The 900-man strong contingent is made up of 565 athletes and 335 officials.
Edo State, which won the 2002 edition of the festival, has declared its readiness to return to the zenith once again just as Ogun State has prepared a 661-man strong team to compete in 25 events at the fiesta.
The Director General of Delta State Sports Commission, Victor Onogagamue, told The Guardian Saturday that the state had prepared well for the festival, adding that Team Delta’s target was the number one position, which it lost to Rivers State, hosts of the last edition in Port Harcourt last year.
Onogagamue stated that Delta, which won the festival in Bauchi in 2000, Abuja in 2004, Ogun in 2006 and Kaduna in 2008, has been financially motivated by Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan for the 2012 games.
“We have a crack team for this festival and we are storming Lagos in a very big way. There are about 50 vehicles already prepared to take our athletes and officials to Lagos tomorrow (today). We are coming with everything we need to give our athletes comfort throughout the festival.”
It was learnt Saturday that the state contingent would head to The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) in Gbagada to seek the face of God before the game begins.
Chairman of Delta Sports Commission, Amaju Pinnick, explained that the team would move into camp after the brief prayer session.
Meanwhile, a top official of the Edo State Sports Council has said that Team Edo would ‘compete fairly’ and would not be involved in any form of “dubious deal” to influence its chances of winning the festival.
“We are coming to Lagos to win the festival for the government and good people of Edo State and one thing I can assure our people back home is that Edo will not ‘buy medals’ in Lagos,” the official told The Guardian.
In a similar development, Team Ogun is storming Lagos with a 661-strong contingent to fight for medals. According to the press officer of the state Ministry of Youth and Sports, Rotimi Oduniyi, the contingent will also arrive in Lagos today. And Governor Ibikunle Amosun has charged the contingent to do the state proud at the festival.
DELTA State contingent to the Eko 2012 National Sports Festival will head to The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Gbagada, Lagos, to seek the face of God in their quest for excellence at the Games.
According to the Chairman of Delta Sports Commission, Amaju Pinnick, the team would be received at the church by prominent Delta indigenes, including the publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Sam Amuka Pemu, and of ThisDay, Nduka Obaigbena.
“We have worked hard and will be going for the title in Lagos,” Amaju said, while announcing that the 800-man delegation from Delta would arrive in Lagos on Sunday.
Amaju said that brief prayer session would follow before the team goes into camp in Lagos.
Meanwhile, 1987 All Africa Games gold medallist and once Nigeria’s only female player on the circuit, Rolake Olagbegi Kassim, is in Nigeria training the Delta tennis team to the festival, which kicks off next week.
Rolake, who currently runs a tennis academy in Atlanta, United States, was invited by Pinnick from her Atlanta base to join the team.
“Our players have improved tremendously since she started training them. In just one week, the progress made has justified the investment,” Amaju said in Asaba.
National sport Festival Challenges/Face-offs
WITH just six days to the commencement of the 18th National Sports Festival (NSF), some of Team Ondo’s elite athletes have absconded abroad, according to a top official.
Bola Akinbobola, Special Adviser on Sports to the Ondo State Governor, disclosed this during a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
Akinbobola, however, dismissed insinuations that the `unceremonious departure’ of the seasoned athletes could hamper Team Ondo’s chances at the Eko 2012 fiesta.
"We lost some athletes; they travelled abroad for greener pastures,but we believe that our athletes on the ground will prove their worth at the festival.
"So when we carried out an assessment on Monday with the governor, we perceived that we may not be able to do better than we did in Port Harcourt in 2011.
"For most of them, it is their first competition and the enthusiasm is there. They have shown us that they are ready to take the centre-stage,’’ he said.
The special adviser went on to say that while the departure of the elite athletes was regrettable, Team Ondo would strive to maintain its consistency at the NSF.
`` We will ensure that we maintain our position and possibly push hard to surpass our feat at the 2011 Garden City Games in Port Harcourt.
``Though most of our athletes will be participating in the festival for the first time, we will still expose them to the rigours of the competition,’’ Akinbobola said.
NAN reports that Team Ondo finished in the fourth position at the 2011 Games in Port Harcourt with 30 gold, 32 silver, and 43 bronze medals.
Team Ondo is expected to arrive in Lagos on Nov. 24.